Discord Premium Helps Creators Monetize Within the Platform

Discord has begun testing a Premium Membership feature that lets creators monetize their communities by offering subscriptions. The program allows content providers to offer tiered-access, create subscription-only channels, or paywall entire communities (which Discord calls “servers”). “With Premium Memberships, creators and community owners will have the ability to gate part or all of their server behind a paid subscription,” the company says. Many Discord communities have been offering that sort of experience by integrating services like Patreon, Twitch and YouTube. With Premium Memberships they’ll be able to do it natively through Discord. Continue reading Discord Premium Helps Creators Monetize Within the Platform

European Union Members Are Concerned Over GDPR Delays

European Union nations are voicing discontent over delays in enforcement of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) implemented in May 2018. Earlier this month Ireland announced a $266 million fine against WhatsApp, after haggling to boost the original sanction of up to $59 million by the Irish Data Protection Commission (WhatsApp parent Facebook has European headquarters in Ireland). The situation has prompted calls to revise how the 27 EU member countries participate in overlapping cases, with expanded pan-EU rules also under consideration. Continue reading European Union Members Are Concerned Over GDPR Delays

Twitter Hack Technique Is Being Replicated for Other Attacks

Last month, three alleged hackers were arrested for manipulating Twitter to control 45 accounts of high-profile figures including Jeff Bezos, Joe Biden and Elon Musk. Now, the technique these young malefactors used — dubbed “phone spear phishing” — is being used by so many other bad actors that experts dub it a crime wave. Phone spear phishing, also known as “vishing,” a mashup of “voice phishing,” has been used this last month to attack banks, web hosting companies and cryptocurrency exchanges, said investigators. Continue reading Twitter Hack Technique Is Being Replicated for Other Attacks

Phone Companies Adopt New Plan to Combat Robocallers

A dozen major phone companies — including mobile and broadband service providers such as AT&T, Comcast, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon — are teaming with 51 attorneys general from across the U.S. to introduce call-blocking tech and additional measures designed to help regulators take on scammers by preventing robocalls. According to Irvine, CA-based call-blocking service YouMail, robocalls reached 4.7 billion consumers in July alone. “Robocalls are a scourge — at best, annoying, at worst, scamming people out of their hard-earned money,” said North Carolina attorney general Josh Stein. Continue reading Phone Companies Adopt New Plan to Combat Robocallers

FCC Nixes California Regulators’ Plan to Add Fee to Texting

California telecom regulators wanted to impose a state fee on text-messaging services, but the Federal Communications Commission has squelched that plan by classifying text-messaging as an information service, not a telecommunications service. That’s the same classification the FCC applied to broadband when it repealed net neutrality and dictated that states cannot create their own net neutrality laws. Although California’s legislature is challenging the latter in court, it isn’t challenging the latest FCC ruling. Continue reading FCC Nixes California Regulators’ Plan to Add Fee to Texting

Microsoft Rolls Out Skype for Business, Android/iOS Updates

Having shown Skype for Business in preview in April, Microsoft officially debuted the business version of the popular communications app, and announced updates to the Android and iOS Skype for Business apps. Skype for Business features include full-screen sharing, one-click to join, and edge-to-edge video. The updated apps allow users to present remotely with PowerPoint directly from a mobile device. Mac users got Skype for Business six months ago, and the “full and final Windows version” was introduced 18 months ago. Continue reading Microsoft Rolls Out Skype for Business, Android/iOS Updates

Facebook Messenger Unveils Native Bot Payments, Webview

Out of Messenger’s one billion users, 300 million people are now using its audio and video calling features every month. This represents tremendous growth from Facebook’s first trials with VoIP audio for Messenger in 2013, and video calling in mid-2015. More recently, Facebook launched Instant Video for live connections in Messenger and group audio calling, with hints on plans to introduce group video calling. The idea is that multimedia options will always be part of the ongoing conversation. Continue reading Facebook Messenger Unveils Native Bot Payments, Webview

Will New Hybrid VoIP Service Help Cut Your Phone Bill In Half?

  • Republic Wireless is a new hybrid cellular voice and VoIP service launching November 8. It will offer unlimited voice, SMS and data service over Wi-Fi, and will switch back automatically to regular cellular connections depending on location.
  • The new service will be offered through Bandwith.com, a North Carolina-based company that has been involved with Skype, Google Voice, Twilio and others.
  • “The company’s extensive VoIP infrastructure handles much of the heavy lifting for these services, and it also offers some of its own products, like Phonebooth, a premium VoIP service for businesses,” reports TechCrunch.
  • Other carriers are reportedly in talks, but Sprint is the first on board to serve as the “fallback” cellular network.
  • According to GigaOM, the $19 per month service will require a special Android handset and “includes unlimited voice and text messaging. It also includes unlimited data without any bandwidth caps.”

New Vonage App Allows International Calls via iTunes

  • Vonage has launched a new app that allows users to make international VoIP calls and pay via iTunes.
  • The new app — dubbed Time to Call — works on iOS devices including the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch.
  • If the calls are limited to 15 minutes or less, there is no need for a Vonage account.
  • “Using Time to Call, 15-minute calls to 100 countries range from $0.99 to $1.99,” reports Digital Trends, “although fees for the remaining 90 countries Vonage can reach can be as high as $9.99 for that same 15 minutes — taxes apply to all calls.”
  • “Not only does this service offer tremendous value for international callers dialing from their home countries, it also provides a great solution for international travelers who want to avoid the bill shock associated with international calls and roaming charges when they call back home,” explained Vonage CEO Marc Lefar in a statement.